My daughter, who grew up here, but who now resides in North Carolina, just got engaged. We are excited about the wedding, but feeling overwhelmed. Can you give us advice on how to find someone with experience to plan this day, and give us some guidelines on what to pay a competent planner? -- Jan, Long Island
Planning a wedding on your own isn't always easy. Because the luxury of checking out locations and vendors can eat up quite a bit of free time, this may cause some stress to your daughter, the bride-to-be. But you’ve done a very smart thing by thinking to hire a wedding coordinator. A wedding coordinator will be the liaison between your daughter and her wedding vendors.
A wedding planner coordinates the big picture and pitches in on the smaller details. Coordinators spend a lot of their time tracking down trustworthy and highly recommended vendors, and can be your daughter’s proxy when looking into the details of her wedding when she can’t necessarily be there. I reached out to TJ Stark of Blush Events, located in Hoboken, N.J., and asked her the key to finding someone with experience to plan the big day. Stark says “the best place to look for wedding vendors (if you don’t have recommendations from friends or family) is on popular wedding websites like The Knot and Wedding Wire. Make sure to read the customer reviews — they will tell you everything about what you can expect from hiring that planner.”
How much to expect to spend on a coordinator? That may vary. Coordinators come at all different price points, depending on how much coverage you’re looking for. “Most wedding planners now charge flat fees instead of a percentage of your total budget, which works in your favor (because the work of hiring all of your vendors is the same regardless of what your budget is),” says Stark. Expect to spend at least $1,000 if you’re interested in day-of coordination, which is the most basic coverage. If you want partial or full planning, expect to spend from $3,000 to upward of $6,000.
So, tell your daughter not to fret. Tell her to surf the web and seek out coordinators who have received great reviews, or simply ask a friend if they know someone who knows someone. It may take a bit of searching, but it beats searching for a handful of other wedding vendors — that’s all in the coordinator's hands now!